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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                      Sept. 10, 1996 V4, #167
All the News the Big Guys Missed

Netanyahu Meets with Clinton Administration

By David Gollust (VOA-Pentagon)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is holding talks in Washington on his second US visit since taking office in late May. US officials want the Israeli leader to take more steps to improve relations with the Palestinians and try to revive peace talks with Syria.

The Clinton Administration is making no secret of its desire to see the Israeli leader move more quickly on the Palestinian and Syrian fronts of the peace process.

But Netanyahu insisted before a meeting with Secretary of State Warren Christopher that he doesn't feel any US pressure - and doesn't expect any -- on key issues including the stalled pullback of Israeli security forces from the volatile West Bank town of Hebron.

The Israeli leader held Pentagon talks on Middle East security issues with Defense Secretary William Perry, stressing his government's backing for last week's US Cruise missile attacks in Iraq following Saddam Hussein's drive into the Kurdish north:

"We are witnessing today the realities of life in the Middle East. The United States has taken a bold and responsible action against aggression, and one that Israel of course fully supports."

Perry congratulated Netanyahu for Israel's successful test three weeks ago of its "Arrow" anti-ballistic missile, a project largely underwritten by the United States.

Palestinian Negotiations Restart

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have resumed formal talks on implementation of existing peace agreements, in keeping with an agreement reached last week between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Leader Yasir Arafat.

Netanyahu and Arafat agreed last week the negotiators would focus on the long-delayed Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank city of Hebron, ways to ease the Israeli closure of the Palestinian territories and plans for an airport in Gaza.

The resumption of these talks was particularly important for the Palestinians, who were concerned the process they began with Israel's former Labor Party government might stall under the new right-wing Likud government.

Still, Monday's meeting made progress only on procedural issues, not on substance. On the key issue of the Hebron withdrawal, Israeli spokesman Moshe Fogel says the Netanyahu government will proceed as the previous government promised, but only if the Palestinians agree to some changes in the plan to safeguard Israeli security.

The chief Israeli and Palestinian negotiators agreed to meet again next month, after talks on Hebron and the other issues have gotten started.

Peres: Israel and Syria Must Compromise on Golan

By Barbara Schoetzau (VOA-New York)

In New York Monday, former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres said peace with Syria cannot be achieved without both nations compromising over the issue of the Golan Heights.

Peres says he is not optimistic about peace negotiations with Syria in the near future. His pessimism, the former prime minister says, is partly based on the assumption many people made during the recent election campaign that the simple promise of peace would get Syria to the negotiating table. But Peres says Israel must be willing to pay a price.

"I do not believe there is any chance, for example, to have peace with Syria without compromising on the Golan Heights. This is my deep conviction. I do not see a chance for having such a peace in the future. What we can (do) is to gain time or should I say rather to waste time? But I do not believe that we can change the price. The price or the cost of peace was very much established in the negotiations with the Egyptians and I do not believe that Mr. Assad will satisfy himself for a lesser price."

Peres, a key figure in the Middle East peace process, says he opposes any delay in the process because of the emergence of what he calls dangers without borders, namely, terrorism, radical fundamentalism, and non-conventional weapons.

Speaking to leaders of major Jewish organizations in New York, Peres said President Clinton was correct to respond militarily to Iraq's incursion into Kurdish safehavens in northern Iraq.

Peres says the current Likud government is responsible for Israel's foreign policy, but he will continue to speak out in favor of the peace process as the leader of the opposition Labor Party.

Olmert to be Indicted

Attorney General Michael Ben-Yair has announced that he will proceed with the indictment against Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert, a Likud Knesset member. Olmert is being charged with campaign fraud during the 1988 Jerusalem municipal elections. At the time, he served as the Likud Party treasurer. He is suspected of having given fictitious receipts on behalf of an advertisement firm that was set up to launder campaign donations.

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